State of the Art of North American Mennonite History

A weekend conference, October 1 and 2, 2004

University of Winnipeg, Eckhart Gramatte Hall

Purpose | Friday's Agenda | Saturday's Agenda | Acknowledgements | Lodging/Food/Registration

The “State of the Art of North American Mennonite History” conference asks participants to reflect on the historiography of Mennonites in Canada and the United States (the conveners recognize that Mexico, too, is part of North America, but decided to focus on the two northern countries). The aim of the conference is to hear from Mennonite historians: from both those in graduate studies and those who teach and publish in Mennonite history; from both practitioners in church-run universities and in public institutions. Participants are asked to evaluate the trends in Mennonite history in North America and provide an insight into their own research in the field. The themes are not exhaustive, and others themes including nationalism, communications, education, and health care could have been added. It is hoped that a representative-enough cross section of Mennonite life will have been examined to provide a sense of the unique features of the history Mennonites in North America.

This conference was preceded by a very successful conference in 1997 in Abbotsford BC, “One People, Many Stories,” the proceedings of which were published in Mennonite Quarterly Review. The 1997 conference was meant to celebrate the completion of two historical series, the four-volume Mennonite Experience in America and the three-volume Mennonites in Canada, and especially the final volumes by Paul Toews and T.D. Regehr. The 2004 conference brings into focus a forthcoming book, that is, the North American volume of the A Global Mennonite History series. The keynote address will be given by the general editor of this five-volume series is Dr. John Lapp, the respondent is Barbara Nkala, an author of the first volume of the series, the one on Africa. It is hoped that this conference will assist the authors of the North American volume, Steve Nolt and Royden Loewen, to conceptualize the book.

The Chair in Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg welcomes all presenters and visitors attending the conference. The conveners plan to publish the majority of the conference papers in the 2005 or 2006 issue of the Journal of Mennonite Studies. To subscribe contact

Friday: 9:00-9:10: Opening
Welcome and Introductions: Royden Loewen, University of Winnipeg

Friday: 9:10-10:30: Theology and Ideology
Chair: Irma Fast Dueck, Canadian Mennonite University

Coffee: 10:30-10:45

Friday: 10:45-12:00: Mennonites in Fiction
Chair: Al Reimer, University of Winnipeg

Friday: 1:30-3:00: Race, Missions and Inter-Ethnicity
Chair: Darryl Climenhaga, Providence College

Coffee: 3:00-3:30

Friday: 3:30-5:00: Identities: Gender and Ethnicity
Chair: Alexander Freund, University of Winnipeg

Dinner Break: 5:00-7:00

Friday: 7:00-9:00: North America and the Global Mennonite History Project
Chair: Royden Loewen, University of Winnipeg

Saturday: 9:00-10:30 a.m.: Money Matters
Chair: Sam Steiner, Vice President, Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

Coffee: 10:30-11:00

Saturday: 11:00-12:00: Church Life
Chair: Esther Epp Tiessen, Mennonite Central Committee


Saturday: 1:30-3:00: Regional Church History Panel
Chair: Adolf Ens, Canadian Mennonite University

Coffee/Faspa: 3:00-3:30

Saturday: 3:30-5:00 Peace and Justice
Chair: TBA

Saturday: 5:00-5:30: Conference Wrap Up

Conference Respondents: Walter Sawatsky, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary; Ted Regehr, University of Calgary


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